Guyana completes 2nd AML/CFT risk assessment report; to finish updated policy by Nov 30
– AG says work ongoing on other recommendations ahead of upcoming CFATF evaluation
Guyana has completed its second Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) National Risk Assessment Report (NRA), with the Government intending to implement one of its major recommendations, an updated policy, by this month end.
This was communicated by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, in a statement from his chambers. According to the AG, who chairs the AML National Coordination Committee, the NRA was conducted by a working group of over 70 persons drawn from more than 40 public and private sector agencies in Guyana.
Additionally, the World Bank provided guidance and support to the working group throughout the process. He also noted that the report contains over 100 recommendations for how to strengthen the AML/CFT framework locally. The report has already been shared with stakeholder agencies so that work can begin on implementing the action plan.
“In conducting the exercise, the working group assessed and identified the country’s ML/TF threats and vulnerabilities. This included the identification of weaknesses and gaps in Guyana’s ability to effectively deal with the existing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing vulnerabilities and threats.”
“The working group examined the money laundering vulnerabilities faced by twenty (20) sectors that are considered as possessing higher than normal risk for Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing locally,” the AG said in the statement.
These sectors include banks, insurance companies and brokers, money transfer agencies, Cambios, securities businesses, attorneys-at-law, accountants, notaries, trust or company service providers, house/real estate agents, used car/ parts dealers, registered charities, dealers in precious metals (gold dealers), dealers in precious and semi-precious stones (diamond dealers), credit unions, cooperatives, betting shops, casinos, lotteries, and pawnbrokers.
“Some of the recommendations put forward by the working group to address the existing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing threats and vulnerabilities identified include (i) the development of an updated formal National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Policy and Strategy.”
According to the AG, this policy has already been drafted and they hope to have it finalised with some technical support and guidance from the World Bank, by November 30, 2022. Meanwhile, additional amendments to the AML/CFT Act and other legislations were also recommended.
“Some of these proposed amendments have already been drafted/passed (AML/CFT Amendment Act passed and signed off by the President, HE Hon Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, on August 11, 2022.”
Also recommended was “outreach activities to the relevant authorities; these have been ongoing and will be intensified; and (iv) outreach and training programmes to the private sector to be prioritised – this has already been initiated.”
Nandlall went on to emphasise that these are just a few of the ongoing measures by the relevant agencies in response to the recommendations by the working group. He made it clear that the Government would continue to prioritise the country’s efforts to combat financial crimes including money laundering and terrorism financing.
These efforts, he noted, are also being implemented to ensure Guyana’s readiness as the country prepares for its Fourth Round Mutual Evaluation by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2023.
“The mutual evaluation process has already commenced with a Pre-Assessment Training facilitated by the CFATF for both public and private sector AML/CFT stakeholders on October 12-14, 2022. The aim of the training is to ensure that these key stakeholders understand their AML/CFT roles and responsibilities and are equipped and prepared for Guyana’s Assessment,” the AG said in the statement.